Sophie Sandolo And The Big Break: Ka’anapali premiers tonight 4/15/08 at 10pm on The Golf channel.
Below is Sophie’s bio as reprinted from the Big Break Ka’anapali pages at The Golf Channel.
Monaco, Monte Carlo
Hometown: Nice, France
College: University of California- Los Angeles (One year)
Home Golf Course: Royal Mougins Golf Club,
Interests: Sailing and biking
Sophie Sandolo is clearly more than a pretty face. A seasoned player on the Ladies European Tour, she’s confident Big Break Ka’anapali will be her next step towards achieving the current goal of playing on the LPGA Tour.
Regardless of what she has done on the course to this point, though, it is appearing in three calendars that has put the Italian model in the public eye.
The Monaco, Monte Carlo, resident has had many “crazy ideas” to promote herself and golf in general, of which the most out of character led the self-labeled “shy” Sandolo to shoot a provocative calendar in 2005. It was so successful that she produced a calendar in both 2006 and ’07 as well, with each edition showcasing her in revealing photography of an artistic and sexy nature.
“I’m strongly convinced that women’s golf needs more visibility and glamour and to present itself in a new, younger and intriguing way,” Sandolo said. “In the last few years women’s golf made some giant steps but the road is still long. I wish that my calendars could bring more notoriety and a bigger diffusion to the sport I play and I love so much.”
She has obtained international visibility on major TV networks (CNN, CNBC, BBC) and fashion magazines, including FHM and Vanity Fair. In addition she was featured in ESPN.com page 2 as one of the hottest female athletes in 2006.
Ironically, the calendar’s publicity may have done a disservice to her golf in the sense many do not realize she is an accomplished player. Sandolo has amassed 15, top-10 finishes in her Ladies European Tour career and finished as high as 15th on the money list. Currently a Tour board member, her commitment and dedication to helping grow the tour is the main reason she has never seriously attempted to move to the United States and compete on the LPGA.
Born and raised in Nice, France, by a French mother and Italian father, she grew up playing tennis before ultimately choosing to focus on her studies at age 13. Shortly thereafter, she and some friends played golf one day and Sandolo found the game to be “quite simple.” From that point forward, golf became her main focus. In less than a year, her handicap was under 10, and by the age of 16, she was a scratch player competing for the Italian junior girls team.
Her game continued to improve to the point she accepted a full scholarship to University of California – Los Angeles, when, at 23 years old, she was named to the All-America team her freshman year. Sandolo, however, left school to return to Europe and compete in the Women’s European Amateur Championship. The return home paid off when she won the event in 1999 after finishing runner-up the previous year.
“My main strength as a golfer is my mental game,” said Sandolo, who qualified for the Ladies European Tour after turning professional in 1999. “I don’t have big ups and downs when I compete. Chipping, driving, putting, I try to keep everything equal. I don’t usually have huge swings. My play is very stable.”
Self-assured about her game, Sandolo likes her chance for success at Big Break Ka’anapali. “When it comes to golf, I think you have to be confident but never overconfident, because in golf there will always be bad days,” she said. “But I’m confident about my game.”
Hopefully, if Sophie comes to the US on a regular basis she uses a golf course directory to find some great places to play.